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The Distinction between Mind and Body Essay

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René Descartes is known for being the ultimate doubter. He believes that nothing we experience is trustworthy, because our senses do not show us the truth, and we don’t have the physical traits to observe the truth. From this he concludes that everything he experiences is inaccurate. Yet, he finds that there must be existence within him. This is because he sees a distinction between the physical world, and the non-physical world. Within Descartes Meditations, he explains the fundamental differences between the mind and the physical world. The distinction is that matter is an unthinking, doubtable, and extended substance, meaning it extends in space. Whereas the soul is a thinking and unextended substance that cannot be doubted. My…show more content…
Because we don’t have the physical tools to “see” the real truth, we need to use our thoughts to infer what the form is, and consider the countless modifications the object can have. For instance, in Descartes wax example, he explains how the piece of wax is still a piece of wax after it has been burned, after it has changed color, shape, consistency, smell, etc. If the form of wax is described in only sensory definitions, how would we know this burnt wax is still wax when it has been stripped of its previous properties? “Since I understand that the wax’s shape can change in innumerable ways […] my comprehension of the wax’s flexibility […] cannot have been produced by my ability to have mental images. […] My grasp of the wax is not visual, tactile, or pictorial,” (Norman, 340). There is no way to sense every single variation of this piece of wax, so our understanding that a burnt piece of wax is still wax must have been inferred by our minds alone. I exist as an unextended substance, proven by the fact that I can write this essay. I have an understanding of the keyboard, the computer, how to move my fingers to type it up, and multiple other physical objects required to write this paper. My understanding of these things does not take up space, as the computer itself does, or as my body does. Even when the computer takes on a modification, even something as little as screen brightness, I still have the understanding
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